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Martin Luther King, Jr. - Political and Social Views

Draft of Chapter II, "Transformed Nonconformist"

Originally titled “Mental and Spiritual Slavery,” this sermon was composed during King’s early years assisting his father at Ebenezer.1 He later revised the sermon and gave it this title.2 King maintains that the church's sanction of social evils such as race discrimination and economic exploitation demonstrates that it has “more often conformed to the authority of the world than to the authority of God.” He chastises the church’s tendency to re

"Can A Christian Be a Communist?" Sermon Delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church

While insisting that “no Christian can be a communist,” King calls on his congregation to consider communism “a necessary corrective for a Christianity that has been all too passive and a democracy that has been all too inert.” Frustrated by the church’s unwillingness to take a stand against racial discrimination, he complains, “This morning if we stand at eleven o’clock to sing ‘In Christ There Is No East or West,’ we stand in the most segregated hour of America.” King also admonishes individuals unwilling to commit to social justice: “If you haven’t discovered somethin

"The Impassable Gulf (The Parable of Dives and Lazarus)," Sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church

King uses Jesus' parable to convince his listeners that the disparity between fortune and misfortune is unjust and that they should work to bridge that gap. He charges that “Dives is the white man who refuses to cross the gulf of segregation and lift his Negro brother to the position of first class citizenship, because he thinks segregation is a part of the fixed structure of the universe.” In this sermon, King echoes George Buttrick's lecture on the parable.1

"The Peril of Superficial Optimism in the Area of Race Relations"

In this outline for a speech before an afternoon meeting of the Montgomery National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peoples (NAACP) King warns against complacency in the fight against prejudice in the United States and around the world for “so long as one spark of prejudice lies latent in the heart of any white American, there is a possibility for it to develop into a flame of intolerance.”1

"The Task of Christian Leadership Training for Education in the Local Community"

King traveled to Atlantic City on 28 June to attend the National Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress.1 The subject matter of the following undated, typed manuscript indicates that it may have served as the basis for an address at the conference. King lays out three primary challenges facing local communities: economics, religious sectarianism, and race.

"The Crisis in the Modern Family," Sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church

In this typed Mother's Day sermon, King blames war, urbanization, industrialization, and individualism for the disintegration of the family.1 “In the average modern family,” King affirms, “there is a civil war in progress in which the parents are revolting against each other and the children are revolting against the parents.


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